If you are under the age of 30 you most likely are confused by the title of this blog. A house with a white picket fence, what’s that all about? Believe it or not this simple sentence once helped define the American dream. We were told to stay in school, work hard, get a job, fall in love, have kids and raise a family. If we were successful we may even own a home with our own backyard where our kids could play and be safe. We were taught to respect authority, take care of our elders, honor our country, live by a strong moral code and regardless of your religious background embrace God. We were assured if we worked hard and remained loyal to our employers they would indeed be loyal to us. During Sunday night dinners our parents encouraged us to get a good paying job with a good company and the House with the White Picket fence would be attainable.
This was the story board for so many of us and it created a sense of purpose, family and community. A pathway to the all so elusive state of happiness. Generations of Americans had a common goal to work hard, be loyal to our employers and to those that helped us along the way. We knew our neighbors and for many of us, our Uncles and Aunts, Grandparents and Cousins were all part of our upbringing and core to our support system.
Much has changed over the past two decades
The endless stream of content delivery of extravagant life styles, over indulgence and gluttony has distorted what the goal should be and how people should conduct themselves.
Employers are more focused on shareholder value and wealth for the very few. As employers continue to demonstrate their lack of loyalty to their employees they have created an entire workforce that demonstrates no loyalty to those who employ them.
Innovation has changed the way in which we engage other people and not for the better. Women and men are judged on images and not substance for all you need to do is swipe left or right.
Working hard is not good enough for we live and work in such an extreme competitive environment. Getting an education is no longer of high value unless you graduate from a top university with an advanced degree and that may not be good enough. Our kids are measured solely on their test scores the schools they attend. The system is designed to make our kids feel like they are under achievers if they don’t attend the top 10% of the university system. Attending a reputable major university and getting solid grades is no longer the standard for opportunity.
We live in a society with a divorce rate over 50%, the rich are getting richer and a middle class has disappeared right before our eyes. How many of us today live near our brothers, sisters, parents and cousins and what impact has that had on our lifestyles and lack of support eco system. Simply ask those around you to draw a picture of their life goal, their purpose and you may be unpleasantly surprised by what you see and hear.
Our children are addicted to their devices and not in a healthy way. They have been brainwashed to expect instant gratification and have not developed the skills to be patient. They have no meaningful relationships today so our children are lonelier than we were and like all addictions, their lives will only get worse not better if we don’t help them break this pattern.
Faith in God seems to be fading with both Christians and Jews seeing huge drops in temple and church attendance and enrollment in faith based activities. In my lifetime, I have never encountered more young people who come from homes where religion was not core to their value system or a pure utter rejection of a broader power beyond themselves.
In 2017 over 10 million young adults were prescribed anti-depressants. Our kids are struggling with life purpose, a positive storyboard and vision for their future while the pharmaceutical companies make billions.
Maybe the house no longer has a fence
Our story boards have changed and there are new life goals that are just different, not better or worse. The youth will determine our path and maybe that path is still yet to be determined. The one thing that is for certain, is we need more love, family, community, loyalty, faith and country.
Our kids need more active parenting, more life coaching and a stronger ecosystem around them to help them navigate the world at large.
For me personally, my first home with the white fence was where I started my family, got focused on a career and raised my kids. This was my purpose!!!